Blackwashed much, leather is standing up as a material which is irrefutably a by-product of food production and could well be a waste on a huge scale of a natural material which instead is turned into something useful for society.
The Leather Manifesto was a call to action not just for the COP27 delegates themselves, but for all in the space of sustainable materials production. As a natural material that is long-lasting, can be repaired or repurposed and at end of life will biodegrade, leather needs to be part of wider discussions towards a circular economy. This industry will continue to push the point that it can be part of the climate solution.
Textile Exchange (TE) has accepted the official ISO 15115 definition of leather, and manufacturers, brands and retailers must make it incumbent on themselves to educate consumers the difference between genuine leather and faux leather, PU leather, mushroom leather, pineapple leather, or any other plant-based leather which cannot be categorised as 'leather'. So, what does industry think?
A 'Leather Manifesto' has exhorted the COP27 to recognise the cyclical, climate-efficient characteristics of leather and other natural fibres. It also urged the COP27 to understand the implications of the huge amounts of raw material of leather production, hides and skins, that are currently being thrown away.
Brexit in the UK has caused major issues with sourcing labour, added regulatory and import/export burdens, increased input costs and reduced customer confidence. Dr Kerry Senior, Director, Leather UK, a membership-based trade organisation with the remit to represent, promote and protect the leather industry, elaborates.